Members of the European Parliament have rejected the proposals for a stricter EU regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products (SUR). 299 MEPs voted against the regulation, 207 MEPs voted in favour and 121 abstained. This means that the plans to reduce plant protection in the EU by 50 per cent by 2030 are off the table. The MEPs also rejected the total ban on plant protection products in so-called "sensitive protected areas". After the vote, the rapporteur on the SUR in the Environment Committee, Green politician Sarah Wiener, submitted a motion to renegotiate the regulation in the EU Environment Committee. This was also rejected. Wiener spoke of "a black day for the environment and Europe's farmers."
The voting marathon had begun with almost 700 amendments, some of which were only accepted or rejected by very narrow majorities. After a break in the session, however, the draft regulation was completely rejected by the MEPs. This means that there will be no trialogue negotiations with the Commission and the Council of Ministers.
The German Winegrowers' Association (DWV) welcomes the EU Parliament's decision. "The EU proposal for a regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products (SUR) could have jeopardised the existence of a large number of winegrowing businesses. We have repeatedly campaigned against bans on the use of plant protection products in sensitive areas, which would have led to a de facto ban on the use of plant protection products in these areas. We were therefore unable to accept the proposals of the EU Commission and the Environment Committee in this form," said DWV President Klaus Schneider.
Franz-Josef Holzenkamp, President of the German Raiffeisen Association (DRV), also spoke of a sensible decision. Viticulture in particular, as well as fruit and vegetable growing, would continue to have prospects for the future.
However, criticism came from a number of environmental organisations, such as the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND). "This is a dark day for all those interested in protecting nature, water and soil and human health. The EU Commission had proposed reducing the use of pesticides in the EU by 50 per cent. Today, a conservative majority, led by the CDU/CSU among others, gutted this draft to such an extent that all that remained was an empty shell. In the end, a majority completely rejected the pitiful remainder of the proposal. What remains is a shambles and the losers are people and nature, as well as food security," commented Olaf Bandt, Chairman of BUND, on the EU Parliament's vote.
(ru / DWV, Agrarheute)